He only had P10, 000 and a dream, but at the tender age of 24, Percy Raditladi trekked all the way to Gaborone to start up one of the most popular private radio stations in the country, Yarona Fm.
A lot of people were sceptical of the move since he was on the verge of attaining his Psychology degree from the prestigious University of Cape Town. However, on May 17th, 1999, after months of blood, sweat and tears, Yarona Fm first hit the air waves.
Raditladi who is of the view that, “The harder one works, the luckier they become,” confessed that at one point he made daily trips from as far as Mogoditshane where he was renting a one room, to the main mall all in pursuit of his dream.
His passion for media began when he was doing his national service and being an avid reader, he has amassed a lot of knowledge as well as valuable assets. After seeing an advert in the newspaper about acquiring rights for a radio station, Raditladi then bought Repo Office World, the oldest stationary company in Botswana which he is a proud owner of together with international franchise Verimark.
Speaking to Lifestyle, Raditladi explained that Yarona Fm has been relentless in its pursuit of a youthful audience and they continuously rebrand to keep up with the times. Raditladi also admitted that it is a mammoth task to keep up due to tight competition from local radio stations and international ones which are readily available online. He describes radio as a natural resource owned by society therefore they have a responsibility to society to be reliable and responsible broadcasters.
Raditladi owes his success to his mother who he claims gave him the initial start up capital of P10, 000 which he used for sustenance and working on the tender document which ultimately got the ball in motion. She did do despite him leaving school and shattering her dreams of him becoming a doctor in the future.
He also owes his success to Thato Sikwane of South Africa’s YFm who brought in technical expertise to establish the station and convince the regulators at the time that it was a lucrative and feasible plan.
To get the initial P3 million required to start up a radio station, Raditladi remembers being tossed from pillar to post by financiers and at some point they called him to the boardroom and laughed at his dream. He however did not give up until he finally got funding through a bank in South Africa and other investors.
Today, at 16 years old, Yarona Fm, boasts the best youthful music content and presenters, they have been consistent and unapologetic with their mandate and have over the years managed to unearth raw talent amongst the youth and local artists.
At the recently held glamorous Yarona Fm Music Awards, Raditladi was awarded the Best Yarona Fm icon award.